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As 2020 came to an end, health care staff at Regional Medical Center in Manchester began receiving the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

Identified in the Phase 1 population eligible for the vaccine are health care personnel and long-term care residents and staff.

Delaware County Public Health Coordinator Charity Loecke said, “Delaware County is working with facilities in our county to allocate the Moderna vaccine doses to the Phase 1 priority population. We will provide updates to the community as we learn more about the upcoming priority groups and have additional allocations of the vaccine. While right now the vaccine is being made available for the priority populations, it is anticipated that by mid-2021 there should be enough vaccine for anyone who wants to receive it.”

In a statement released last week, county health care officials also said they were awaiting additional information concerning the next round of vaccinations. According to the release, “Phase 1B will be the next group to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Exact details and protocols have not been released yet to Delaware County Public Health to indicate who all is included in this next phase or how it may be tiered, but we understand it is planned to include law enforcement, firefighters, teachers and school staff, and seniors age 75-plus.”

County health officials hope to receive more information from the state in the next couple of weeks.

The release continued, “As more COVID-19 vaccine becomes available, Iowa’s Infection Disease Advisory Council (IDAC) will review guidance issued by the CDC’s advisory group, the Advisory Council on Immunization Practices (ACIP), to further prioritize populations to receive the vaccine in Iowa. ICAC is currently reviewing ACIP recommendations for Phase 1B and 1C populations. At this time, Delaware County does not have details of what these recommendations may be.”

As they learn more about the phases of vaccine distribution, Delaware County Public Health and RMC officials will provide updates through newspapers, radio stations and social media. The release added, “RMC will send out a special communication to our email newsletter distribution list with vaccine updates.” Anyone wishing to be added to the newsletter mailing list may sign up at regmedctr.org/email-newsletter.

Officials remind everyone that until the COVID-19 vaccine is widely available that Iowans continue to practice mitigation measures to slow the spread of the virus. Those practices include:

• Avoid large gatherings

• Keep six feet of distance from others

• Wear a face mask when in public

• Stay home when able

• Wash your hands frequently

• Stay home when you are ill (even mildly sick)

• Get your flu shot

More information and updates related to COVID-19 may be found at: For information and updates related to COVID-19, visit http://idph.iowa.gov/Emerging-Health-Issues/Novel-Coronavirus/Vaccine. Information may also be found on the RMC Facebook page, IDPH Facebook page (@IowaDepartmentofPublicHealth) and Twitter (@IAPublicHealth).